Top lessons for media owners
This study has a high added value for media owners as well as advertisers. An equity study like this one can help executives understand how their media brand performs compared to competitor brands – as well as understand how this performance differs amongst audiences; how strong a brand’s profile or signature is; and, most importantly, how to implement actionable recommendations that can help regenerate a media brand. Here are three topics to demonstrate the richness our survey data holds for media owners.
Identifying brand strength for different audiences and buttons to push
Understanding what makes a powerful brand in your category, and how your brand performs compared to competition, can help you focus on the right growth factors. To illustrate this, consider the audio category, and more particularly Spotify. The brand manages to score above the average score of 100 on our three key equity drivers: Meaningful, Different, and Salient.
What’s more, BrandZ™ enables us to dive deeper into the drivers behind these three success factors, which in turn helps to determine actionable recommendations. For example, diving deeper into the brand attributes scores shows that elements like Ease, Distinctiveness, Superiority, and Prestige are all key drivers of high Meaning scores in the audio category. Spotify performs above average on all these key drivers, which accounts for a Meaningful score that’s 29 points above the global average. In the brand typology of BrandZ™, this makes Spotify an Iconic brand: a well-established brand that has the ability to create even more value by growing demand and commanding a premium price.
Does this mean Spotify can lean back and simply keep up with their good work? No, because BrandZ™ also reveals two possible areas of vulnerability for the brand: Trust and Audience. Trust is an important driver of both Meaningfulness and Salience. Spotify scores below average on Trust, a trend that we’ve seen among many global media brands operating in the Netherlands. Increasing trust could therefore help Spotify further strengthen their position. Secondly, in the realm of Audience, it turns out that Spotify’s high brand scores are very much reliant on their strong performance among the 18-34 year old audience. By increasing its Meaningfulness and Salience among consumers aged 35 and up, Spotify could strongly increase its brand strength.
Remarkably, Spotify’s main worldwide competitor, Apple Music/iTunes, is in the bottom 4 when it comes to Brand Strength in the Netherlands. The brand has notably low scores on both Meaningfulness and Salience. Looking at some of the most important drivers behind these metrics, Apple Music does not manage to meet the category average on attributes like Ease and Superiority, which means their current offer is not sufficiently easy to use, nor is Apple Music seen as a brand which is the best at what it does. This places Apple Music at further risk of losing audience share in the future.
Preparing for the future: The rise of ad-free subscription models and fall of gossip print media
To get a glimpse of what consumers expect to become more and less relevant in media, it is interesting to see how different brands are rated on “gaining importance in the future.” Four out of the top five brand that are expected to become more important in the future are ad-free, subscription-based media brands, with Dutch brand Videoland ranking among four big global brands (Netflix, Spotify, YouTube and WhatsApp). Looking at the bottom five, we must conclude that consumers do not foresee a bright future for print media – especially more gossip-minded print media outlets, with both Story and Privé landing in the bottom five.
Magazines have a clear positioning
Not only can we define brand character for each media brand – we can also measure how strongly a brand is associated with that character. This is reflected in the Character Clarity Score. The higher the Clarity score, the more outspoken the positioning of the brand is. When looking at individual brands, NPO 1 again ranks high, followed by Donald Duck and LinkedIn. Even beyond Donald Duck, magazines as a category place well on the Clarity score: six out of the top ten brands are magazines.
With special thanks to:
Jasper Bronner, Business Science Director at MediaCom
Inge Monsees, Team Lead Business Science at MediaCom
Marjon van Diepen, Insights Director at GroupM
Guido Pauw, Manager Marketing & Services at GroupM